By Anna Marie Bolet-Rock At Night Jacksonville
Review: As If the 90s Festival! – Francis Field, St. Augustine–May 15, 2021
St. Augustine’s As If! The 90s Music Festival brought out a crowd ready to party like it was 1999. Set in the Ancient City’s Francis Field,this festival had something for everyone of all ages, including a gigantic water slide and slime zone for the kiddos, amazing local food trucks and boutiques to purchase all sorts of flare. Music came back to life on May 15 with Double Headliners: Coolio and Ken & Drew of Sister Hazel.
The music began around 1pm with the acoustic Americana band Salt & Pine followed by the musical trio The Space Heaters playing blues and funk. Bad Dog Mama made an appearance playing old favorites from the 90’s leading us up to the funk group NKO Nerd Overkill, St. Augustine’s own DJ and live drums super group. Sailor Jane and The Swell Acoustics took the stage with their bluesy sound setting it up for the acoustic headliner Ken Block and Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel. Playing favorites such as “Change Your Mind” and “Happy”, rounding out their set with “All for You”.
With the afternoon that crept into twilight, the crowd went wild for the powerhouse vocals of Ramona & the Riot. This high energy 7-piece group was in your face with trumpet, saxophone, bass, drums and guitars and never let up the entire set. Romana was in her grove preforming in front of an adoring crowd.
A supercharged audience was primed for what came next with the reunion of one of the most successful independent bands of the 90’s, SpiderMonkey. Formed in 1992 in St. Augustine, this high energy dynamic group was formed when Todd Horn, Randy Rockalotta, Tony Gialluca III relocated from Ohio and met local skater/guitarist Garrett Coleman. The rocked the crowd with songs “Fever”, “Sweat & Energy” and “Then I’m Gone”.
As night fell and the temperatures cooled down, the energy of the crowd pushed up as close to the stage as possible, the headliner Coolio took the stage like a Funk God. With a dynamic group of musicians joining him on stage, Coolio injected the crowd with high energy hits like “Hit ‘em High”, “C U When U Get There”, “Fantastic Voyage”, “In the Hood” and everyones favorite “Gangsta Paradise”. Coolio played to the crowd, pulled a girl up on stage for a dance with the saxophonist and gave us all the show we had been waiting for. Leaving the stage, Coolio was rushed by fans all wanting a selfie before he slipped out!
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